Thursday, July 2, 2015

Fearing Infertility

I can only write about this now because of the two sweet babies who now call me Mommy (well, one calls me Mommy, the other just sort of squeals, coos, and smiles at the moment).

I always assumed I would have an incredibly difficult time getting pregnant, staying pregnant, giving birth to healthy babies, and staying healthy myself afterwards.

The list of reasons is long, and the fear led me to believe it might take years for me to get pregnant. Long before we married, my husband and I had agreed on what infertility treatments we would seek should the time come. This fear was very real, very strong, and I tried to take a practical approach.  Even before I'd ever had sex, let alone tried to have a baby, I accepted that infertility would likely be a struggle of mine.

Firstly, I grew up hearing about my mom's and my grandmother's various conditions that led them to have a series of miscarriages before finally having kids.  I also knew that my mom and I barely survived my own birth at 32 weeks gestation.  The chances of me having trouble seemed quite high, and that was before any doctor ever looked at me.

In the fourth grade, I was diagnosed with a platelet disorder which meant that I would forever be writing "bleeder" on all of my medical paperwork.  Around that time, I overheard my doctor telling my mom that he wasn't sure I should ever have kids. There wasn't enough research about the disorder (ITP) at the time to prove that those of us who had it would survive childbirth. 

Nine years old, and told I shouldn't have kids.

By the time I started college, doctors realized that low platelets didn't carry a sentence of a life without childbirth, but in my senior year, they found a growth - out of the frying pan and into the fire.

Yep, 20 years old, confused about my future, and now I had a cantaloupe sized cyst on the webbing between my fallopian tube and ovary.

I remember when they told me they would take one tube and one ovary. I melted in the shower that night, just sobbing, feeling like the dream of having my own babies had, once and for all, been ripped away.

Twenty years old, and I thought I would never have a baby.

After the surgery, my doctor told me she had saved my ovary but taken one tube - chances were better than they thought, but I should anticipate difficulty, as I would only have any sort of useful ovulation every other month.

Fast forward ten years, and I'm married, and we want to start trying. It could take months, they said, maybe years, and, oh, don't forget, if you have an ectopic, you're done.  I lost my spare tube a decade ago...

And so we held hands, closed our eyes, and leaped, hoping for a miracle, and 41 weeks later, he arrived.

I kissed his sweet face, smelled his hair, and thought, This is enough. He is enough.

Two years later, we wanted to leap again. If it doesn't work, we won't intervene. One will be enough.

41 weeks later, she ran into the world at full speed.

And together, they are enough. They are the miracles I never imagined. I lived my whole life expecting the pain of waiting for them, and, yet, here they are, these amazing and perfect tiny humans.

So, to the mothers who are waiting and waiting and waiting, please know that there are those of us who understand your pain, who understand the confusion and the fear, because we were told to expect it and spent years anticipating it.  I wish you baby dust and the joyous sound of a newborn's cry. 

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